Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Easy Comfort

A bitter north wind roared into town last night.  It has been steadily stripping away the fall foliage from our trees... leaving some naked, down to their winter bark.  Evan has needed comfort from a nagging backache; I have needed comfort from missing my Little Man and his folks (always takes me a few days to get back on track after a visit).  So, I'm sharing a couple of easy and comforting recipes we have enjoyed the past couple of days.  They are from the Taste of Home Prizewinning Recipes.

Mexican Chip Casserole by Doris Heath

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 can Mexicorn
1 can chopped green chilies
1 package (10 oz.) corn chips
1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce
1-2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese

In a skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is browned and onion is tender; drain.  Add soup, corn and chilies;  mix well.

In an ungreased shallow 3-qt. baking dish, layer meat mixture, corn chips and enchilada sauce; top with cheese.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees until heated through (15-20 minutes).
YIELD: 6 servings

Yes, there are only two of us.  Yes, in less than seven hours after coming out of the oven, there were only two pieces left... which are gone now.

Cheddar Pear Pie by Cynthia LaBree

4 large ripe pears, peeled and thinly sliced.
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. Cornstarch
1/8 t. salt
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I used a sharp, aged cheddar)
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt

In bowl, combine pears, sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Pour into pastry shell.  Combine topping ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle over filling.  (NOTE:  I always combine all dry ingredients and mix well before adding moist ingredients.  Don't know if that really matters... but, I'm obsessed with it.  What can I say?)

Bake at 425 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted.   Cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes.  Serve warm.  Store in the refrigerator.  YIELD:  6-8 servings.

Wishing lots of warm comfort for all!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cup of Coffee and a Newspaper (a.k.a. Milk and a Book)

This is how I have started my mornings over the past week... a cup of coffee for me and a cup of milk for this one.  A good read and we were all set.

If that's not a smile to wake up happy to, I don't know what is!  I love my little early riser!  He and Noni share their love of the early hours, along with Pop Pop.  Early bird gets the worm!  Hee hee... or the beautiful smiles and laughter.

I was able to make Story Time with Alex at his local Library.  I love old libraries... I love books... and I am so very happy that this Little Man does, too.  He never tires of bringing us books to be read.

Little Man and Momma shakin' their eggs along to the songs!

At the end of story time, the kids get to float the balls on a colorful parachute.

Running underneath at the end seems to have been his favorite part.

And, this... sweet, sweet baby-to-come was among our greatest blessings to be thankful for this holiday.  He or She will be making a summer arrival and we know Little Man will be an awesome big brother!!

Amanda and Jerry made a wonderful Thanksgiving for Pop Pop and me.  I am deeply grateful.  I hope each of you  had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well.  I'll soon be around to see what everyone has been up to.  It's amazing how much you can get behind in a week!  LOL!  And then, there is Christmas to get ready for!!  Blessings to all!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Peasy Sweater

It's been a really busy week.  Historic Tyler on Tour planning is in full swing.  The usual busy work of bill paying, bookkeeping, etc.  We are looking at another Old Girl (historic multiplex), which involves lots of research and phone calls.  I've enjoyed a couple of Skype visits with Little Man.  And, we just got back from a day trip into Dallas to visit with Evan's family.  Lunch at Houston's, always a treat!  Plus an excursion to Costco's!!  We enjoyed the best coffee cake for dinner!  I know it wasn't a healthy dinner... but it was soooooo good.  Hope you have all been enjoying a nice weekend, too.  I continue to be grateful for all the sweet and encouraging comments on the watercolor painting.  You are all too kind.

Finished the Peasy sweater this week.  Back into my familiar medium.

Choosing buttons after blocking.  Went with the shell ones.  I never could get a photo with good color on this yarn.  Very frustrating!

Now, I've started on the fun colors... with a small detour along the way.  I think Little Man needs a stocking cap to wear when he goes to cut his Christmas Tree.  =)  Gotta get busy!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The End Product and a Big Thank You

It still has to be matted and framed, but this was how it ended at 5 PM yesterday afternoon.  We still had a three hour drive home and I was pooped when I pulled in the drive.  I want to give very special thanks to the encouragement I received from my blogging friends.  I read your kind comments yesterday morning before heading back to class and the boost of encouragement was just so very special.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

There is so much to learn, but I am very excited about this medium.  I had always thought watercolors had to be pale and light... Soon Y Warren is the Caravaggio of watercolor.  Well, not the dark, darkness of Caravaggio, but you get the idea.  She sees watercolor as a vibrant medium.  I love it!! 

Again, I thank my encouragers!  XOXOXOXO

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nightmare of a Novice

My friend, Patrice (who is an artist) talked me (who is NOT an artist) into taking a Soon Y. Warren Watercolor Class.  Oh, my goodness!  We are on day 2 and I hope I make it through tomorrow!  It is so overwhelming if you don't have a clue what you are doing.  That's why I call this post the Nightmare of a Novice; but I will say, that today, I had a few, tiny, flashing, brief moments of excitement... that some minuscule portion of my work would almost come out in a way that pleased me.  Almost.  I could catch glimpses of possibility... which were quickly dashed by the glare of reality.  Glimpses, never the less.

The layers in this process seem endless.  We started at home by doing our drawing and adding frisket (a rubber-like substance) to keep some areas (highlights) free of paint.  Then we did a yellow wash over the whole sheet, except over the flower area.

Then we added  layers of green and red to the bowl... a layer of blue to the cloth (which will be red!).  Then we worked the first layer on our flower... then a background layer...

Then the red layer... over the blue... over the yellow for the cloth...

Then, one more layer over the background... and, it is drying until tomorrow  morning... when we will begin again!

This is Patrice hard at work on hers, which looks much better than mine!  I'm exhausted and about to hit the sack.  Hope the nightmares of the day don't continue into the night... lol...

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Remember... to thank a veteran today... and to teach our future generations to appreciate the price of the freedom we enjoy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Planting Seeds of Intention

Last week, I went to my first Prayer Shawl Ministry meeting.  I had not known about this ministry until I wore a shawl to Sunday school and, on seeing me in a homemade shawl, one of the ladies in my class invited me to join them on the first or third Monday of the month.  That Monday, I was given three skeins of this yarn.  Each skein was only 81 yards.  I was a bit confounded as to what to do with my provisions.

I searched patterns on Ravelry and Lion Brand for about three hours, trying to find something I could make with three skeins of Super Bulky yarn.  I looked through my books...  and magazines.

Finally, I just started... with one thing in mind... and then, that changed...  and this is the end result.  I did just what I do while I cook:  take a little from this and a little from that, until it seems right to my taste. LOL.   BTW, for all of the non-knitters, this shawl is made using a "seed stitch".  I loved the sentiment of this prayer:


May each stitch be a seed of beauty.
May each stitch be a seed of truth.
May each stitch be a seed of health.
May each stitch be a seed of compassion.
May each stitch be a seed of joy.
May each stitch be a seed of grace.
May each stitch be a seed of love.

Boston, Massachusetts

from Prayer Shawl Companion by Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Joining Kim's Savvy Southern Style Before and After Party

We live in a 1917 (we've been told 1917 and 1913; there is some research to be done some day when there is time) Craftsman Bungalow.  Her name is Tallulah and we love living here.  The streets are still brick; the porches are still easy sitting and the East Texas beauty still surrounds us.

In the beginning...


We ripped up the emerald green plush carpet and found paint, tin nailed down over large holes and what would look like hopelessly ruined heart pine floors.  Come in: The Floor Guys.  Sand.  Stain.  Polyurethane.  Incredible transformation.  Like dummies, we did this BEFORE we painted.  Lesson learned.

This is the After.  I wanted very simple and clean lines.  The bed is mesquite.  It was custom made for a woman in Dallas and then it wouldn't fit into her house.  The platform is one piece and very large.  Heavy.  Heavy.  Heavy.  The dresser on the left is my favorite piece of furniture we have.  It was a floor sample that I had been admiring for months at Restoration Hardware years ago.  I STILL love it.  The ceiling fan and fixture are VERY OLD.  I'm not sure they were original to the house, but the fan still works like a charm (go Hunter).

The giant amoire: an essential in an older home with limited closet space!

The windows are fabulous.  Most of the panes are the original wavy glass.  I would never even consider changing them out.

The bedside tables came from The Canton Trades Day.  A touch of Oriental.  The lamps, I don't know what style they are, but I liked them.

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Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.